A History of the County of Leicestershire: Volume 5, Gartree Hundred. Originally published by Victoria County History, London, 1964.
This free content was digitised by double rekeying. All rights reserved.
The parish of Foxton lies about thirteen miles south-east of Leicester, and about three miles northeast of Market Harborough. The parish is approximately square. The eastern boundary for much of its length follows first the main Leicester to Harborough road, and then the road diverging from it to Church Langton. The northern boundary for part of its length runs along a side lane leading to Gumley. The area of the parish is 1,902 a. (fn. 1) In 1935 a small area in the south-east of the parish was transferred to Harborough, and a small part of Harborough was transferred to Foxton. (fn. 2) The parish comprises a stretch of undulating country on the north side of the Welland valley, its highest point, just south of Foxton village, being 438 ft. above sea level. A brook cuts through the parish approximately from west to east, forming a small valley on the southern side of which the village stands. The surface soil is largely boulder clay. In 1957 the parish was largely meadow and pasture, though there was some arable, and there are several plantations.
The site of Foxton village slopes fairly steeply from the parish church on the south towards the stream which skirts the north end of the built-up area. It is a nucleated village consisting largely of three parallel streets, known as Main Street, Middle Street, and Swingbridge Street, which run down the hill from south-west to north-east. The highest part of the village, containing the church and the manor-house, is cut off from the rest by the Harborough branch of the Grand Union Canal. Main Street crosses the canal over a hump-backed bridge and Swingbridge Street by a narrow swing bridge. Middle Street exists only below the canal and stops short at the village school which stands on its bank.
The manor-house, now a farm-house, stands 100 yds. east of the church. It is T-shaped in plan, having a front range of which the lower story is built of ironstone. The centre of this range may represent the site of a medieval hall with its crosspassage at the north end. If so, extensive alterations were made c. 1600 when a chimney was inserted and the house given a timber-framed upper story of which traces remain. The range was re-roofed and the upper part cased in brickwork in the 18th or early 19th century. The projecting back wing, which is built of ironstone and has cellars below, dates from c. 1600. The roof is covered with stone slates and retains its original trusses with curved principals. Most of the windows in the house have been altered but there is one stone-mullioned window on the ground floor and an 18th-century dormer in the roof. A stone which has been re-cut and built into a modern outhouse bears the date 1597. This may represent the date at which the house was rebuilt or remodelled.
The village is built almost entirely of red brick and most of the cottages date from the 19th century and later. There are several older houses in Swingbridge Street including some brick cottages with a date tablet of 1730 and the former manse, an 18thcentury cottage with later additions. Two substantial 19th-century houses in the same area are the Grange and the Chestnuts, both standing in their own grounds. There are 6 pairs of Council houses dating from before the Second World War, 3 in Middle Street and 3 at the lower end of Swingbridge Street. Near the latter are two pairs of Swedish timber houses, erected in 1946, and 19 brick Council houses built between 1949 and 1952. (fn. 3) Several privately-owned bungalows in the centre of the village were being completed in 1959. The village hall and the recreation ground occupy a large site between Middle Street and Swingbridge Street.
The recorded population in 1086 was 31. There were 48 households in 1563 and 200 communicants were reported in 1603. In 1670 there were 81 households, and in 1676 296 communicants were reported. In 1801 the population was recorded as 420, but in 1811 as only 365. During the late 19th century the population declined, and in 1891 it was only 284. During the earlier 20th century it was rather less than 300. (fn. 4)
The main Grand Union Canal runs through the parish near its western boundary. The part of the canal within the parish includes a group of ten locks, which carry the canal up to the higher ground to the south-east of Foxton, and various side cuts and basins connected with them. The branch to Harborough runs off the main canal just north of the locks. The locks themselves, and the canal to the south of them, were built in 1808-14, and the Harborough branch in 1805-9. (fn. 5) The locks were later superseded by an inclined plane lift which was opened in April 1900. (fn. 6) A narrow boat took an hour to pass through the old locks but only 7 or 8 minutes by the lift. The latter was believed to have cost £250,000 and taken three years to build, but it was closed in 1911 owing to insufficient traffic. The metal was sold for scrap about 1929 and the engine house demolished in 1932. (fn. 7) The remains of the lift can still be seen on the east side of the locks. The road from Leicester to Harborough was turnpiked in 1726. (fn. 8) Though bus services operate along the Leicester to Harborough road, there is no daily service to the village itself. This may account for its lack of recent growth despite its nearness to Market Harborough.
The airfield, which was constructed in 1941-2, partly in Foxton and partly in Lubenham parish, was used by the R.A.F. until 1946. The residential quarters were then taken over by the National Assistance Board and later by the Ministry of Housing and Local Government in order to house displaced persons. Polish families were still living there in 1957. The former runways and hangars were converted in 1948 into a vehicle depot for the R.A.O.C. (fn. 9)
In 1086 2 carucates of land and 5 a. of meadow at Foxton belonged to the king, as part of the royal soke of Great Bowden, which had been held by Edward the Confessor before the Conquest. (fn. 10) Seven and a half carucates, with 20 a. of meadow, were held by Robert de Buci from the Countess Judith, widow of Waltheof, Earl of Northampton and Huntingdon. (fn. 11) Part certainly, and perhaps all, of the lands at Foxton that belonged to Great Bowden soke were later included in the soke of Stretton, and their descent has been traced elsewhere. (fn. 12) By 1109 de Buci's holding had been acquired by Robert son of Vitalis. (fn. 13) According to a cartulary of Daventry Priory, Vitalis had been given the barony of Foxton by William I, (fn. 14) but in view of the statements made in Domesday that is perhaps unlikely. By 1109 Robert son of Vitalis had obtained other lands once held by the Countess Judith, in the adjacent townships of Gumley and Lubenham and elsewhere. (fn. 15) Robert was succeeded by his son Simon, and then by Simon's son, Richard of Foxton. (fn. 16) Richard in turn was succeeded by his son, another Richard. (fn. 17) A Richard of Foxton, who was involved in a lawsuit over land in Scalford in 1186, (fn. 18) was probably Richard son of Simon, and it is likely that by that date he possessed Foxton.
Richard son of Richard was succeeded, at his death in or before 1224, (fn. 19) by his two daughters, Beatrice, wife of Richard son of Hubert of Middleton, and Amice, wife at one time of Alan Basset. (fn. 20) Beatrice and Amice each obtained part of their father's lands at Foxton. The descent of the share that fell to Amice and her successive husbands will be dealt with first. In 1235-6 Alan Basset was recorded as holding 1½ knight's fee in Foxton and Wymondham, as of the honor of Huntingdon. (fn. 21) The lands at Foxton descended to Amice's two daughters by Basset, Joan and Agnes. (fn. 22) In 1246-7 Joan remitted to Agnes and Agnes's husband William de Meynell the lands which their mother had held in Leicestershire, Northamptonshire, and Rutland. (fn. 23) After de Meynell's death Agnes married Ralph de St. Lo, who held land at Foxton in 1260, (fn. 24) and was still living in 1282. (fn. 25) Joan Basset married William of Gumley, who at one time held land at Foxton. (fn. 26) Part, perhaps all, of Agnes's land at Foxton was subinfeudated to John Latimer, who was holding 4¾ virgates there when he died in 1282, from Ralph de St. Lo. (fn. 27) Latimer had probably inherited his lands at Foxton from Robert de Braybrook, who had been given 9 virgates and 6 tofts there by Richard son of Simon of Foxton. (fn. 28) Agnes and Ralph are said to have left a son John, who died without issue. (fn. 29) Joan and William of Gumley are said to have left a son Roger. (fn. 30) It seems probable that the lands held by Amice and her descendants fell through failure of heirs to her sister Beatrice's line, for in 1325 Nicholas Latimer died seised of 4¾ virgates at Foxton, held of Thomas of Middleton, (fn. 31) who had inherited Beatrice's share of Foxton, and there can be little doubt that Nicholas's holding was the same as that earlier held by John Latimer.
Beatrice's share of Foxton, usually referred to as MIDDLETON'S manor, was held by the Middleton family until the middle of the 14th century, though its descent cannot be traced completely. The manor was held by John of Middleton under Henry III, (fn. 32) in 1325 by Thomas of Middleton, (fn. 33) and in 1343 by William, Thomas's son and heir. (fn. 34) By 1362 Middleton's manor was held by Sir William Burton, (fn. 35) who is said by Nichols (fn. 36) to have bought it.
Under Henry III John of Middleton was holding the manor from John de Balliol and his wife Dervorguilla. (fn. 37) Since Dervorguilla was a niece and coheir of John the Scot, Earl of Chester and of Huntingdon, (fn. 38) it may be assumed that the overlordship had been retained by the Countess Judith's heirs, the earls of Huntingdon. (fn. 39) The Balliol portion of the Huntingdon lands was forfeited to the king in 1296, and in 1306 was granted to John, Earl of Richmond. (fn. 40) The Balliol lands listed as being granted to the earl do not include Foxton, (fn. 41) but he is mentioned as overlord of Foxton in 1325 and 1334. (fn. 42) When the earl died in 1334 his lands reverted to the king. Probably the overlordship then passed to the dead earl's nephew, John, Duke of Brittany and Earl of Richmond, who obtained his uncle's lands in 1334. (fn. 43) John died in 1341, and, if he had in fact obtained any part of the Huntingdon honor, it then reverted to the king. (fn. 44) In 1343 Middleton's manor was being held from Mary de St. Paul, Dowager Countess of Pembroke. (fn. 45) It is not known how she acquired the overlordship of the manor, but it is probable that she was holding it at farm for life, as a result either of a lease from the Crown, or from her uncle John, Earl of Richmond, who before his death in 1334 had entered into complicated transactions with her over his English lands. (fn. 46)
The Latimers remained important under-tenants of Middleton's manor. In 1334 Thomas Latimer of Braybrooke died seised of land at Foxton, (fn. 47) and the Latimers continued to hold land there from the Middleton family, (fn. 48) and then from Sir William Burton. (fn. 49)
Sir William Burton at his death in 1375 was succeeded by his son Thomas, (fn. 50) and Thomas in turn by his son, another Thomas, in 1382. (fn. 51) The Burton holding at Foxton was then described as a moiety of the manor. (fn. 52) In 1400 Thomas Latimer died seised of one-third of the manor, held from Thomas Burton, and in 1401 his widow, who had presumably been holding in dower, died similarly seised of one-third, held from William Burton. (fn. 53) In 1411, however, when Edward Latimer died, he was said to be holding one-third of Foxton manor, jointly with his wife Margaret, from William of Astley. (fn. 54) Margaret possessed the manor until her death in 1421, when it was said to be held from Thomas Derby. (fn. 55) After Margaret's death her lands at Foxton fell to John Griffin, Edward Latimer's great-nephew and heir, (fn. 56) and they continued to be held by Griffin's descendants until after 1509, when Nicholas Griffin died in possession, leaving his son Thomas, a minor, as heir. (fn. 57) It is not known when the Griffins ceased to hold land at Foxton, and the descent of their holding cannot be traced after 1509. Nicholas Griffin, at his death, was said to be holding a manor at Foxton from the king, as of the honor of Huntingdon, (fn. 58) but the Derbys certainly retained land at Foxton. William Derby, who died apparently in 1498, leaving his son Everard as heir, possessed 2 virgates and 2 messuages at Foxton, held of the honor of Huntingdon. (fn. 59) Libaeus Derby, at his death in or shortly before 1560, was said to have possessed a manor at Foxton, held from the queen as of the manor of Kibworth, of the honor of Huntingdon. (fn. 60) The reference to Kibworth seems to be an error. Libaeus Derby's heir was his daughter Elizabeth, wife of Edward Eyton. (fn. 61) In 1589 Edward and Elizabeth Eyton conveyed the manor to Thomas Cave, Thomas Chapman, and others. (fn. 62) The descent of Middleton's manor cannot be traced further. The Chapman family were large landowners at Foxton in the late 18th century, (fn. 63) and may in fact have acquired most or all of the manorial lands.
The DAVENTRY manor at Foxton originated in the glebe land attached to Foxton church, which was given to Daventry Priory by Robert son of Vitalis in 1109. In 1143 or 1144 Robert deprived the priory of Foxton church, but restored it between 1146 and 1151. (fn. 64) According to a charter granted by Simon of Foxton, Robert's son, the church's land consisted of 4½ virgates and an unspecified number of tofts, to which Simon added another ½ virgate. (fn. 65) Simon's son Richard confirmed to the priory the site of a mill at Foxton, with a toft and one acre of meadow. (fn. 66) The church was appropriated to Daventry before 1220, and the glebe with the priory's other possessions in the parish came to form a separate manor. In 1260 the lands at Foxton were held by the Prior of St. Andrew's, Northampton, (fn. 67) which like Daventry was a daughter house of La Charitésur-Loire (Nièvre). (fn. 68) This arrangement seems to have been temporary, and the reasons for it are unknown. In 1260 Ralph de St. Lo and his wife Agnes gave up their claims that the Prior of St. Andrew's should do suit of court at Foxton for his lands there, and that the priory's villeins should attend Ralph's view of frankpledge. (fn. 69) In 1315 it was said that the Prior of Daventry had held a view of frankpledge for his tenants at Foxton immemorially. (fn. 70)
The manor remained the property of Daventry Priory until its dissolution in 1525. In 1526 the manor was granted to Cardinal Wolsey, (fn. 71) who used it to endow Cardinal College at Oxford. (fn. 72) When Wolsey's foundation was transformed by Henry VIII into Christ Church, Oxford, the manor was granted to the latter. (fn. 73) In 1553 the manor was granted by the Crown to James Greenwood and Dunstan Clarke of Market Harborough. (fn. 74) After 1553 there are no references to the estate as a manor, and the manorial rights may have lapsed soon after the Dissolution. By 1558 the rectory, presumably then comprising the priory's lands in Foxton, the great tithes, and the advowson of the vicarage, had passed into the hands of Cardinal Pole, who granted it to the Crown. (fn. 75) In 1564 the rectory was leased by the Crown to Dorothy Pole, a widow, and in 1578 to Ambrose Smith; (fn. 76) in 1578 it was acquired by Ralph Westgraff. (fn. 77) It was held in 1607 by Sir Basil Brooke, (fn. 78) on whose death in 1613 it was sold by Basil's son Thomas to Sir Thomas Neale. In 1620 Neale sold it to Sir Thomas Burton. (fn. 79) Thereafter the ownership of the whole rectory is untraced. The advowson of the vicarage had been separated from the rest of the estate in 1558, (fn. 80) and at an unknown date before 1770 the land belonging to the rectory and the great tithes passed into separate ownership. By 1770 the hay tithes had been commuted for money payments, and under the Inclosure Act of that year John Corrance received 148 a. in place of the rest of the great tithes, assessed at £165 a year. (fn. 81) The Revd. F. T. Corrance, in 1877, (fn. 82) and R. H. Hansell, in 1892, (fn. 83) were named as impropriators presumably because they owned this estate, most of which was bought by the Air Ministry from Mr. C. C. Ogden in 1947. (fn. 84)
In the 15th century a manor at Foxton belonged to the Duchy of Lancaster, but it is not clear how it originated. The manor of FOXTON was among the duchy property which Henry V gave to feoffees in 1415, (fn. 88) and the manor was also included in the duchy lands assigned to Margaret, wife of Henry VI. (fn. 89) In 1630 Charles I sold the manor of Foxton, then described as parcel of the Duchy of Lancaster, to Charles Harbord, Christopher Favell, and Thomas Young. (fn. 90) According to Nichols (fn. 91) Harbord, Favell, and Young sold the manor in 1631 to Richard Freeman, Thomas Bert, and Isaac Davenport, to hold in trust for the customary and copyhold tenants.
In 1086 the king's holding at Foxton consisted of 2 carucates of arable and 5 a. of meadow. This land was part of Great Bowden soke, and the tenants on it are not listed separately. (fn. 92) Seven and a half carucates at Foxton were held by Robert de Buci from the Countess Judith. In demesne Robert had 5 serfs and a bondwoman, with 2 ploughs. His tenants were a priest, 3 socmen, 18 villeins, and 3 bordars, with 9 ploughs. There were 20 a. of meadow. (fn. 93)
In 1610 it was said that the copyholders at Foxton were claiming that the fines that they were liable to pay when their holdings changed hands by sale or inheritance amounted to one year's rent only, the rents being fixed. (fn. 94) In 1620 it was agreed that in consideration of a lump sum paid by the copyholders of the Duchy of Lancaster manor the fines should be fixed at one year's rent. The Duchy further authorized its tenants to inclose their copyhold or customary lands, and to exchange them with freehold lands in the manor. These terms seem designed to facilitate inclosure by agreement, and indeed some inclosure had evidently taken place before 1620. (fn. 95) Most of the parish, however, remained uninclosed until the 18th century.
In the late 17th century, and probably earlier, there were three open arable fields at Foxton. (fn. 96) The parish was inclosed in 1770, (fn. 97) and the tithes were commuted at the same time. (fn. 98) Under the inclosure award John Corrance obtained 135 a. as impropriator of the great tithes, and 44 a. as owner of lands in the open fields. Thomas Chapman, who was allotted 253 a., and Sir John Palmer, who was allotted 244 a., were the most important landowners. Two others obtained more than 100 a. each, and there were 41 lesser owners. Members of the Chapman family, including Thomas, obtained in all just over 400 a. out of the 1,685 a. inclosed. After the inclosure the parish seems to have been mostly pasture. In 1801 there were only 115 a. of arable, including 41 a. under wheat and 33 a. under beans. (fn. 99) A map of an estate in the parish, drawn in 1862, shows about two-thirds of the lands as under grass, and one-third as arable. (fn. 100)
An inventory of Richard Jurden's goods at Foxton, drawn up in 1608, mentions a 'frame'. (fn. 101) If this is a stocking frame, it is a very early example of such a machine being used in a Leicestershire village. There were a few weavers in the parish about 1700, (fn. 102) but no domestic industry of any importance developed, and in 1957 Foxton was still a small agricultural village.
A grant of a windmill at Foxton to Daventry Priory was confirmed by Richard son of Simon of Foxton, apparently in the late 12th century. The grantor's name is unknown. (fn. 103) A charter granted by Richard son of Richard of Foxton, probably early in the 13th century, mentions amongst the priory's possessions at Foxton, the site formerly occupied by the mill. (fn. 104) If the mill had been allowed to decay, it was rebuilt, for it was subinfeudated by the priory later in the 13th century. (fn. 105) In 1317 the mill was held by William FitzRoger, probably as the priory's tenant. (fn. 106) In 1780 a mill at Foxton was leased by Thomas Coleman to James Styles. (fn. 107) This may have been the mill south of the village, which was still used as a corn-mill in 1885. (fn. 108)
In the 12th century Foxton was the centre of a small honor, which included lands at Lubenham, Gumley, and Scalford, and at Bisbrook (Rut.) and Braybrooke (Northants.). (fn. 109)
Foxton appears to have had a workhouse, but in 1802-3 only 3 people were relieved there; 31 adults and 45 children received out-relief. (fn. 110) After 1836 it was included in Market Harborough Union. (fn. 111)
There was a priest at Foxton in 1086. (fn. 114) In 1109 Robert son of Vitalis gave Foxton church to Daventry Priory. (fn. 115) In the Middle Ages the rectorial estate constituted the Daventry manor, described above. (fn. 116)
In 1226-7 it was said that Bishop Hugh de Welles had ordained a vicarage at Foxton, (fn. 117) but the terms of the ordination are not known. The advowson descended with the rectorial estate until 1558, when it was separately granted to the Bishop of Lincoln. (fn. 118) The bishop, however, is not known to have presented to the living, and in 1641 Jonathan Devereux was presented by the Crown, (fn. 119) which subsequently retained the advowson. (fn. 120) By 1877 the patronage was being exercised by the Lord Chancellor. (fn. 121) On the union of the benefices of Foxton and Gumley in 1939, the patronage was divided between the Dean and Chapter of Lincoln (patrons of Gumley before 1939), who presented for the first and third turns, and the Lord Chancellor, who presented for the second turn. (fn. 122)
Foxton vicarage was valued at £1 6s. 8d. in 1259, (fn. 123) £2 6s. 8d. in 1291, (fn. 124) and £7 3s. 2d. net in 1535. (fn. 125) The living was augmented by a grant of £200 from Queen Anne's Bounty in 1780. (fn. 126) In 1911 the incumbent stated that the living was worth about £100 a year (apparently the net value). (fn. 127) By 1679 there was a small vicarial glebe of about 6 a. (fn. 128) but nothing is known of its earlier history. When Foxton was inclosed under the Act of 1770 the vicar was allotted 71 a. in respect of his glebe and in commutation of the small tithes. (fn. 129)
In 1605 the vicar was resident, and there were said to be 200 communicants. (fn. 130) In 1662 the living was under sequestration because it had been deserted by the vicar, who was later a nonconformist preacher. (fn. 131) Under John Ashton, vicar 1711-39, services were celebrated once on Sundays, and communion three times a year. (fn. 132) Foxton was without a resident vicar from 1739 to 1876. (fn. 133) In the late 18th century the parish was served by a curate, who had also to serve several neighbouring cures. (fn. 134) William Humfrey, vicar 1835-74, lived at Laughton, about 7 miles away, and visited Foxton once on Sundays to conduct a service. His energies were largely devoted to fox-hunting. (fn. 135) Since 1876 there has been a resident vicar. At about that date the present Vicarage was converted from an 18th-century house, probably a farm-house. It stands in Vicarage Drive, at the lower end of the village. The earlier Vicarage is thought to have been a small late-17th-century house standing north of the swing bridge. (fn. 136)
The church of ST. ANDREW stands on high ground at the south end of Foxton, dominating the village and visible for a considerable distance around. It is built of ironstone with some limestone facings and consists of chancel, clerestoried nave, north and south aisles, north porch, and west tower. Part of the shaft of a Saxon cross, carved with interlacing ornament, is preserved inside the church. This and the 12th-century font bowl indicate the existence of an early church on the site.
The oldest parts of the existing structure appear to be the west end of the chancel and the base of the tower. The former may date from the early 13th century and is of rubble masonry with a lancet window in each wall. The lowest stage of the tower also contains a lancet window on the west side, but the masonry has been re-faced and buttresses added. On the south side of the chancel is a two-light window with forking tracery of c. 1300 and the double piscina and low chancel arch are probably of the same date. In the north chancel wall is a 'low side' opening of which the sill has been lowered and in which a timber window has been inserted. The north aisle appears to have been rebuilt in the 14th century, the north porch being perhaps a slightly later addition. The aisle contains one 14th-century window with flowing tracery, the others are 15thcentury insertions. In the north wall is a double aumbry with rebated jambs for hinged doors. The nave arcades of five bays were rebuilt in the 15th century and have tall arches resting on composite piers, similar in detail to those at Market Harborough. A rood loft stair has been built against the eastern respond of the north arcade where it has the appearance of being a later insertion. The clerestory and the nave roof, the latter retaining its original timbers, are contemporary with the nave arcades. The line of the former steeply-pitched roof is visible externally at the east end of the nave and internally above the tower arch. The upper stages of the tower and its embattled parapet are also additions of the 15th century. The south aisle and the east end of the chancel have late Perpendicular windows and masonry which is very late in character. Both may be post-Reformation reconstructions. There was formerly a very plain south porch. (fn. 137)
The fabric needed a good deal of repair in the late 18th century. (fn. 138) In particular the archdeacon recorded in 1797 that the church was very dirty, the seats 'wretchedly bad', the roof leaky, the walls defective, and the interior in need of plastering. (fn. 139) By 1806 the church was reported to be in good condition (fn. 140) but after this it appears to have been badly maintained until 1890. In 1891-3 a thorough restoration was carried out at a cost of £2,750. (fn. 141) At this time the interior was refitted, the chancel was reroofed, and the east window was restored. The soil was cleared away to a considerable depth on the south side of the church, and the south porch was demolished and its doorway blocked up. The reopening of the church in 1893 is commemorated by a tablet in the north aisle.
The large square font bowl probably dates from the mid-12th century. It is carved with interlaced arcading, the beaded semi-circular arches resting on cushion capitals. At the angles the columns are bent round under projecting corbels. The pedestal is not the original one (fn. 142) and appears to have been made up of two 13th-century capitals, one upside down, taken from composite piers. If these belonged to a former nave arcade, it is probable that it was contemporary with the chancel arch.
In the chancel are memorial tablets to the Revd. F. T. Corrance (d. 1850) and his relatives. According to Nichols former members of the Corrance family had been buried in the chancel. (fn. 143) Elsewhere in the church are several 20th-century mural tablets. The glass in the east window was inserted in 1893 in memory of the Revd. Edward Ellis and his wife.
There are six bells. Five of them were recast in 1912 when the sixth was added. (fn. 144) Before the recasting three bore the dates 1629, 1630, and 1632 respectively and are thought to have been by Hugh Watts of Leicester. No. 3 may have been cast by Austen Bracker of London early in the 16th century. (fn. 145) The plate consists of a fine silver cup of 1567 with a cover paten of the same date, a 19thcentury silver-plated paten, a pewter flagon, and two pewter patens. (fn. 146) The registers date from 1653 and are complete. At the back of the earliest register is a separate register for dissenters for 1694-1708.
The Puritan William Wilson, who was presented to Foxton by Cromwell in 1656 and deserted the benefice shortly after the Restoration, (fn. 147) was preaching at Foxton and Great Bowden by 1669. (fn. 148) The religious census of 1676 lists no dissenters at Foxton, (fn. 149) but that is not conclusive evidence of their absence. One of the parish registers contains a separate register for dissenters for 1694- 1708, and 41 births are recorded for that period. (fn. 150) In 1715 a house in the village was licensed for dissenting worship. (fn. 151) Other houses in the village were similarly licensed in 1718, 1719, 1723, and 1737. (fn. 152) In the early 18th century there were said to be about 20 dissenters at Foxton-some Independents, some Baptists-besides occasional conformers. (fn. 153)
By 1770 Foxton had a Baptist chapel, said to have been built in 1716. (fn. 154) When Foxton was inclosed the chapel trustees were allotted 9 a. in respect of land in the open fields. (fn. 155) In 1844 William Chapman left £1,000 to maintain the chapel and the manse. (fn. 156) In 1865 the chapel was demolished and a new one built, (fn. 157) and this was still in use in 1957. It stands in Main Street and is built of red and blue brick with lancet windows and stone dressings.
Robert Fellowes was admitted as schoolmaster in 1590, and was still teaching at Foxton in 1614. (fn. 158) His school does not seem to have been endowed. In 1833 there were two private day schools in the village, attended by 10 boys and 16 girls. There was also a Sunday school, maintained by subscription. (fn. 159)
A school board was formed compulsorily at Foxton in 1874. (fn. 160) A school was built at the higher end of Middle Street, and opened in 1875. (fn. 161) In 1903 the county council assumed control, and the board was replaced by school managers. (fn. 162) In 1910 the average attendance was 39. (fn. 163) In 1929 the senior pupils were transferred to Church Langton, and the school became a primary one only. (fn. 164) In 1933 29 pupils were attending, (fn. 165) and 39 in 1957, (fn. 166) when an additional classroom of prefabricated timber was built.
At an unknown date before 1712 Lady Langley bequeathed £5 for the use of the poor. In 1780 this sum yielded 5s. interest which was distributed among the poor. (fn. 167) Anne Tozer, by will proved in 1783, left £250 to the churchwardens and overseers to be invested for the poor. The testator's estate was too small for the bequest to be carried out in full and the parish obtained only £194 3s. 4d. (fn. 168) In 1818 the executors of Mrs. Catherine Palmer held £100 in trust to be invested for the use of the poor. (fn. 169) These three charities were consolidated as the Foxton Parochial Charities by a Charity Commissioners' Scheme of 1891. The annual revenue was then 2s. 8d. from Lady Langley's, £6 4s. from Anne Tozer's, and £7 6s. 4d. from Catherine Palmer's. (fn. 170) In 1952 the Parochial Charities yielded £12 12s. 8d. and £12 was divided among 14 recipients. (fn. 171)
In 1870 George Harris gave to 7 trustees representing Foxton Baptist chapel a rent-charge of £4 a year, to be distributed on 24 December among the poor of Foxton whatever their religious beliefs. (fn. 172) The Charity Commissioners, by a Scheme of 1914, added to this another rent-charge of £4 a year which is believed to have been left by Sir John Henry Palmer (d. 1865) of Carlton Curlieu. In 1952 the annual income of Palmer and Harris's Charity, £8, was divided among 14 recipients. (fn. 173)
Robert Monk (d. 1916) of the Robin Hood Hotel, Leicester, left an estate of £21,457 gross value. By his will, proved in 1916, he bequeathed various investments to the parish of Foxton with provision for the establishment of three funds: the coal fund, the charity loans fund, and the general fund. The Robert Monk Charity was regulated by a Chancery Scheme of 1927, and three subsequent Schemes of the Charity Commissioners, in 1928, 1938, and 1953. The coal fund, £800, was to endow a coal distribution among the poor in November and December. The charity loans fund was to provide interest-free loans of between £25 and £300 to poor inhabitants of Foxton. The general fund was designed in the first place to provide £5,000 for a village hall and recreation ground and later to pay for the maintenance of the village hall, to supply food, medicine, money, or domestic help to the sick, to make payments to young people in difficulties or intending to emigrate, and to restore dilapidated cottages. (fn. 174) A village hall was erected at the cost of £2,749 to the charity and opened in 1931. (fn. 175) It stands in the recreation ground in the centre of the village and is a large well-built structure of ironstone with limestone dressings. In 1957 the trustees spent £55 on coal, made two loans of £300 each, and spent £909 on the running of the village hall. (fn. 176)